Six Iconic Queen Moments to Get You Excited for Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-awaited biopic from 20th Century Fox in which Rami Malek plays Queen’s electric lead singer Freddie Mercury, finally comes out this month. The project was initially announced in 2010, and it chronicles the band’s formation, meteoric rise, and the challenges and events leading up their famous Live Aid London performance in 1985. The trailer includes scenes of Mercury’s notoriously blunt press appearances, his relationship with one-time girlfriend Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton) and arguments between Mercury, drummer Roger Taylor (played by Ben Hardy) and guitarist Brian May (played by Gwilym Lee) over the making of the movie’s eponymous song. The whole thing is pulled together by mesmerizing performance re-creations and impressive musical work from all the actors. Mercury passed away in 1991, but his spirit lives on in this film. Here, a few of our favourite Queen moments.
1. The cheeky interviews. Mercury was charming, super charismatic and not afraid of total honesty. During one interview, when asked if he had any hobbies, he said, “I have a lot of sex.” He also famously responded to another reporter: “I love my job, but I hate talking to people like you.”
2. The making of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The epic six-minute song, which appears on the 1975 album A Night at the Opera, was the subject of a 2002 short documentary called Inside the Rhapsody. It outlines everything that went in to making the part-ballad, part-opera and part-metal tune, including dealing with their record company, who tried to get the band to reduce the length, and spending three full weeks recording the song. These days, it’s one of the most beloved songs in history (and is the third best-selling U.K. single of all time). The single also came out alongside a promotional video, which set the stage for the modern music video scene years before MTV even existed.
3. Mercury’s actual operatic duet. It’s no secret that Mercury’s vocal range was huge—four octaves, to be exact. When he released a single called “Barcelona” with well-known Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, he proved he could match her operatic talents. Their 1988 performance of the song at La Nit, backed by a full orchestra, has more than four million YouTube views. Along with Aretha Franklin, Cabellé also sang at Mercury’s funeral.
4. Their legendary crowd participation. One of Mercury’s favourite ways to warm up the crowd was by his signature call-and-response technique, where he’d holler a series of tunes and have the crowd sing them back to the band. Many of the band’s songs were, in fact, written with crowd participation in mind—especially “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” two anthems that the band wrote mostly for the audience to perform.
5. The band’s “Under Pressure” collaboration with David Bowie. The song—which one music critic said was the best song of all time—was the result of a spontaneous 1981 jam session in Switzerland, and almost didn’t happen. “If it’s planned, then it’s boring,” said Mercury in an interview. The duo never sang the song together; Queen performed it at their shows but Bowie never did—until a 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (he played it at most subsequent shows after that).
6. That incredible Live Aid concert. The 1985 show at Wembley Stadium in London is widely recognized as one of the best live performances of all time—and Freddie Mercury will forever be remembered in that white-tank-top-and-white-jeans combination. After a few years of falling popularity and some political blunders, their killer performance stole the show and totally revived their relevance. It was only 20 minutes long, but it was infused with a contagious energy that had the massive crowd waving their hands and swaying together as one unit—separated only by the speed of time. The YouTube recording has been watched more than 56 million times.
The film comes out on November 2nd. Find out where you can snag tickets here: bohemianrhapsodytickets.com/